Hope for a balanced, inclusive Budget 2016

So far, social and security issues have accounted for a big part of the responses to Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam's Presidential Address, both inside and outside Parliament ("After SG50, time to 'write the next chapter together'"and "No easy journey ahead for S'pore"; both published on Jan 16).

While we plan to create more material progress, there is a growing call to make our society more caring, inclusive and equitable, which is the best way to prevent any social division or polarisation from developing.

Singapore does not subscribe to increasing social welfare through heavy taxation.

We have to pay more heed to tackling the roots of problems.

To achieve a more inclusive society, our fiscal budget must be inclusive.

For example, we have schemes to help small and medium-sized firms to upgrade or diversify.

For those who cannot be helped under such schemes, we can offer other forms of assistance so that they can earn a decent living.

This also applies to hawkers, freelancers and new entrepreneurs, who may not be fully covered under our existing schemes.

Perhaps, full-time housewives in the lower stratum of our society should be assisted too.

We should also review whether our meritocracy system has slowly become a bit elitist in our quest for high-tech, high-efficiency economic achievements.

I look forward to a balanced, inclusive Budget 2016.

Ng Ya Ken

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 28, 2016, with the headline 'Hope for a balanced, inclusive Budget 2016'. Print Edition | Subscribe